Not Just Cats and Dogs

Bird Hutt -- A Wonderful Parakeet, Laid to Rest 9-2-63. Part of My Heart is Buried Here. Aspin Hill Memorial Park.
Bird Hutt — A Wonderful Parakeet, Laid to Rest 9-2-63. Part of My Heart is Buried Here. Aspin Hill Memorial Park.

Dogs represent the majority of animals buried at Aspin Hill Memorial Park.  Cats are almost equally numerous.  But it’s not just cats and dogs that are buried at this pet cemetery. There are also horses, birds, snakes, rabbits, hamsters, turtles, and at least one opossum.  A former owner of the cemetery once claimed that he could bury an elephant if he had to, although he was never called upon to do so. Even more surprising is the fact that there are quite a few humans buried there as well.

Monkeys

"Squeak 1948-1949 Our Marmoset" Aspin HIll Memorial Park.
“Squeak 1948-1949 Our Marmoset” Aspin HIll Memorial Park.
"Andy I Will Always Love You" Aspin Hill Memorial Park.
“Andy I Will Always Love You” Aspin Hill Memorial Park.

Because Squeak and Andy were buried in Aspin Hill at some expense to their owners, I think it’s safe to assume that they were well-loved and pampered pets.  Things have changed since these two monkeys were alive.  As of May 31, 2006, it is illegal to offer for sale, trade, barter, possess, breed, or exchange a non-human primate as a pet in the state of Maryland.  There is probably a good reason for this.  Marmosets can live nearly twenty years in captivity, but Squeak didn’t make it nearly that long.  In my opinion, monkeys are better off in the wild or in a qualified sanctuary.

Birds

"Herman, Frostie, Toby -- Our Babies" Aspin Hill Memorial Park.
“Herman, Frostie, Toby — Our Babies” Aspin Hill Memorial Park.

I’m not sure what species Herman, Frostie, and Toby were, but I know they were birds based on the section and lot number on their grave marker.  “Birdland” is a special section of the cemetery for birds.  I’d read about it in a newspaper article, but never knew exactly where it was until a recent mowing turned up a number of grave markers like this one.

Horses

Missy - Palomino Shetland Pony, 1962 - 1970. Aspin Hill Memorial Park.
Missy — Palomino Shetland Pony, 1962 – 1970. Aspin Hill Memorial Park.

In previous posts, I wrote about Tipperary Mary, the Great Jumper, and Vincent, the horse from Richmond.  But those two notable horses are not the only ones at Aspin Hill Memorial Park.  Missy was a Palomino Shetland pony belonging to one of the owners of the cemetery, S. Alfred Nash.  It was Nash who boasted that he could bury an elephant.  I’ll write more about him in a future post on the history of Aspin Hill.

Rats and Fur

Medical Rats Memorial. Aspin Hill Memorial Park. Photo by Liz Roll
Medical Rats Memorial. Aspin Hill Memorial Park. Photo by Liz Roll
Fur Coat Memorial. Aspin Hill Memorial Park.
Fur Coat Memorial. Aspin Hill Memorial Park.

From 1988 to 1996, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) owned Aspin Hill Memorial Park.  They hoped to use the cemetery as a place to teach humane values toward animals.  During that time, they erected a Medical Rats Memorial (actually a small burial plaque on the ground) inscribed with names Emily, Annie, Jane, and Rue.   There’s also a Fur Coat Memorial.  It’s not clear if there are any animals buried beneath the granite marker, but it does depict a raccoon and a mink.

Humans

A. Wilson Mattox, buried next to his dog, Robin Goodfellow. Aspin Hill Memorial Park.
A. Wilson Mattox, buried next to his dog, Robin Goodfellow. Aspin Hill Memorial Park.

Quite a few humans desired to be buried with their pets, so strong was their devotion.  There may be as many as 70 people buried in Aspin Hill Memorial Park.  I have found the graves of 24 of them.  The earliest human burial that I could find was of A. Wilson Mattox (November 12, 1876-May 25, 1950).  Some of the past owners of the cemetery are buried there as well.  I will be writing about them in a future post.

Sources consulted:

Maxa, Rudy. “Laying Spot to Rest,” The Washington Post, Times Herald, Apr 16, 1972. pg. PO17

“A Quiet Place Of Peace For Favorite Pets,” Times-Herald, September 23, 1952.

Code of Maryland. Criminal Law. Title 10. Crimes Against Public Health, Conduct, and Sensibilities. Subtitle 6. Crimes Relating to Animals. § 10-621. Import, offer, or transfer of dangerous animal.

Carson, Gerald.  “Pet Cemeteries,” Boston Globe, October 1, 1972, pg. G28.

“PETA buys Aspin Hill,” Montgomery Journal, June 7, 1988.

2 thoughts on “Not Just Cats and Dogs”

  1. Wow! It is fascinating to see the devotion of these past pet owners, it seems that the culture of pet devotion has been going strong for many years, I thought it was a recent construct.

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